Recently I have been noticing the inattentiveness of my fellow drivers on the road. It has always been something I have noticed, but since I took the motorcycle safety course I feel like I have been noticing the bad driving more.

Since I started this job at the paper I have spent a lot more time on the road. It has given me a chance to better myself as a driver, but also has given me a chance to see the bad driving skills of others. Now I cannot say that I am a great driver. I have had my share of bad driving incidents as well and after taking that safety course I have really pinpointed some of my bad habits and started changing them.

The class really opened my eyes to some of my inattentiveness on the road and some habits I could change. Like talking on the phone. I still talk when I need to in the car, but I have gone completely hands free with my phone. No more weaving around while looking for the phone. It stays in the same spot all the time and I talk without using my hands. I have noticed a significant difference in that one small change alone.

I am also becoming more aware of my fellow drivers around me. I am taking my time when changing lanes and being more patient when waiting on other traffic. Yes I may mutter things under my breath when the traffic is moving slowly, but I am not letting it affect my driving performance.

I think some of the things I notice most are people not watching when turning, not paying attention to other drivers and the texters.

I can always tell when a person is texting while driving because their heads are down, they weave in their lane and a few have almost hit my by coming into my lane while texting. Again this is one of those areas that I am guilty in. I used to have a real bad habit of doing this very thing. When I wound up driving in another lane, on an empty road thank goodness, was the minute I stopped doing it. If someone texts me and I think it is important I will call them or just wait until I have a chance to stop. There is to much at stake when driving down the road.

I have noticed recently that there have been a lot of people who have not been looking before they turn out into the road. On a weekly basis I normally have someone pull out in front of me everyday, but since I have started being a more attentive and defensive driver there have yet to be any accidents. I think there are many people who just are not paying attention at all and in then end I think that can lead to a big problem. Many times that people have turned in front of me it has been in my own neighborhood where there are children playing everywhere and many people walking, riding bikes and motorcycles. One inattentive turn could lead to an accident with any of those people.

I know I am not guiltless when it comes to any of these driving infractions, but I am hoping to continue to better myself as a driver and possible help bring awareness to others and maybe a safety course is what everyone needs.

(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Cherokee County News-Advocate. She can be emailed at stefanie.cope@sekvoice.com.)